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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Internet, The Blog that Wasn't and Winter Preparations

Bolsa Chica path . . . makes you wonder 
what's around the corner, doesn't it?

I don't have the story I wanted to be able to tell you about, but . . I'll get to that later.  So, instead, for now, I will start out by saying I like photos in a post.  I just really like looking at nice photos and I am thinking that you may, too.  But, this post is one that I don't really have pics of to post . . . so, I am going to take you on a little walk with me through the Bolsa Chica wetlands while we chat.  I want to have some nice things for you to look at while you are listening to my little stories here!  I hope you don't mind.

Some of the grasses around the Bolsa Chica wetlands

So, how do you drive a person crazy (or punish them - depending on your purpose) in this day and age without resorting to violence or anything that will get you arrested?  Why, easy!  Just ask any teen, you simply take away their phone and internet for a week!  OMG!  Ten years ago, I probably wouldn't have even blinked twice at that possibility.  But, 2 weeks ago, I got home from work and as always, the first thing I did was try to check my email.  I have gotten so used to it always being available, . . . you just go to the computer and magically, it is just there . . . just waiting for me!  But, that night, I got . . . nuthin!  I kept getting the message that I wasn't connected to the internet!  What? ? ? ?  It was like someone telling me that I wouldn't be able to breath between 10 and 11pm or something!  It just didn't seem real!  I kept trying and trying and kept getting no connection.  It didn't occur to me right away to actually check the phone lines!  So, by the time I got so frustrated I was ready to call the tech support line, I think I was frothing at the mouth over withdrawals already!  And, when I did finally pick up the phone, I was stunned to find . . . silence.  Total silence!  Where the heck did the dial tone go?

Bolsa Chica ground squirrel . . . isn't he cute?

Well, remember my previous posts about my escapades building my patio?  Specifically, that little incident with sort of digging through my phone line and that someday if I stayed here long enough that it would come back to haunt me . . .  Wel-l-l-l-l-l, that was the first thing that popped into my head.  I had been having some static on the line for a while now, and I sort of recall that somewhere along the line (no pun intended), I had been told that moisture in the lines can cause static.  And, when they had repaired the line, they just put a little plastic-looking doo-hickey over the ends of the cut line and left it for me to rebury.  It was definitely NOT water-proof looking.  Soooooo, I immediately thought the worst.  I thought maybe it was water-logged and shorted out or whatever happens to water-logged phone lines, and I was just sure they were going to tell me they were going to have to dig up my patio to repair it.  It was really hard work putting that patio in, and I was a bit younger with a bit of a stronger back back then.  I just couldn't imagine having to try to repair all the damage after they tore it up.  So, I spent the night (and the next several days) angst-ing over it.  

This adorable little bunny thought he was invisible!

The last time I had had to call the phone company, they were on regular 8-5 hours, so I thought I would have to wait until the next morning to make an appointment for them to come out to fix it for me.  Surprise!  Technology can be a wonderful thing.  I now know you can call 24/7!  Wish I had known that BEFORE I waited until after 8 the next morning to call, it probably would have taken less time that night to get through!  I thought it would be a 15-20 minute call to make an appointment for them to come out and repair the line and maybe a day or two wait for them to get there!  Surprise, again!  Technology can also be a curse, I hate phone trees!  It took 4 calls and over an hour to make the appointment for them to come out, only to be told it would take a week, A WEEK! ! ! ! to get here!  AND, they would only say they would be there sometime between 8am & 5pm.  Well, that narrows it down, doesn't it?  Holey-moley!  A week without phone or internet!  That should be considered some kind of inhumane punishment!  

Oh . . . four calls you ask?  Wel-l-l-l-l, the first one took probably 15 minutes of pushing selections on the phone tree only to get a recording that said a check of my lines was inconclusive.  They couldn't tell if it was on their end or in my house.  But, a couple more mins on the phone and a few more buttons and I get a recording telling me I could maybe save some time by checking the line myself.  All I would need is a screwdriver.  Just go to the phone box outside and remove the cover and plug in a phone to see if it works.  Yeah, right . . .

They didn't say whether I needed a flathead or phillips, so I took both and guess what? . . .  it took neither.  I needed a wrench, so I went to find one and tried again.  But, it just wouldn't come off.  I got a bit frustrated and gave up and went back in to call back from my cell phone again (how did we live pre-cell? ? ? ?)  After going through all those stupid phone tree things again, I finally got one that said to speak to a representative, press (whatever it was), I did . . . and got nothing.  Total silence.  I didn't know if I was on hold or had gotten into a no-man's land where no call is ever picked up.  Should I hang up and lose my place in line and have to start all over, or hang in there only to find out I would be on hold forever?  After 2 more mins, I finally decided to hang up and try again.  Third call . . .  I finally, finally got a real live person and everything was going pretty well, but then I was asked for my cell number so they could forward my calls from the home line to my cell while I was without service and so the repairman would have a number to call just before he arrived.  Well, since I only use it for emergencies, I don't really know what my number is and since I was on the phone, I couldn't look it up.  I was nearly panic-stricken because I couldn't bear to go through the phone tree AGAIN!  I was nearly frantic when I asked the guy if there was another number I could call so I didn't have to go through all that again.  He said sure, just call this number and select for repair and about that time I recalled that I had written my number down and asked him to wait a moment while I checked and then . . . the call got dropped.  sigh . . .  As it turned out, I didn't have it written down (and, yes . . . I do now) so it gave me a chance to look it up before I called back.  Well . . . to be blunt, he fibbed about being able to get right back through.  It was not that simple, it was another phone tree and the options he told me were not the options given, and so it took another 13 mins to get another real live person again.  And, as I found out later, they did not end up forwarding my home calls to my cell.  I sure hope no one else has to go through this!  It is brutal!

Anyway, when the repair guy got here and only had to replace a few wires in the phone box and was done in less than 1/2 hour AND he made sure I had phone and internet again, I almost kissed him!  Oh, and he said that particular box wasn't made for me to take the cover off myself, so that recording was . . . well, wrong. Now, it may have had something to do with my hysterical tears of joy to have my internet back!  Or, it could have been my hanging on him and thanking him over and over and over, and begging that he never leave me, but for some reason, it seemed he couldn't wait to escape.  Ok, in all honesty, I don't really think I scared him that badly!   . . .  I don't think . . .  But, it's ok . . . I have internet again! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . . . . . . . .  :-)

Well, during this time, I had planned on going to the Kinetic Sculpture Race.  And, that is what this post was originally supposed to be about, but sometimes, things don't always work out the way you plan them!  We don't usually get rain this early in the year, but that morning I woke up to rain.  Since I had no internet that weekend, I didn't have a way to check to see if there was a phone number or something I could call/use to check to see if it was rained out or if it was going on anyway.  It could have been just fine up there, weather-wise.  I just had to decide whether or not to drive the 2 hours up and take a chance on it being cancelled or not.  I decided that if it was going on, and if it was raining, I didn't really want to be standing out in the rain anyway, and that if I did go and it was raining, the photos would probably be a little gloomy-looking.  And then there would be the long drive home in rain.  So, I ended up staying home, and so, of course, it ended up clearing up fairly quickly and it probably would have been a great time . . . but, by then it was too late to start out, I would have missed most of it.  So, I will put this one on my list of things to check out . . .  next time.  And I will check out their site later to see the pics of this year's entries.

Once I got my internet back and was able to check my email, I discovered I had received an email from my cousin from over on her 9 acre farm.  She was telling me all about all her winter preparations.  Honestly, she made me feel totally exhausted telling me all about everything she had to do to be ready for the snow.  She told me about all the firewood that still needs to be chopped, the pipes that need to be wrapped in heat blankets, all the tires that need to be changed out for snow tires, the big gardens that need to be dressed with goat berries, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Phewwwww! ! !  I had to sit down and rest for a day or two, my head was spinning so fast! ! ! 

But, don't worry, I assured her that I knew JUST what she was going through as I, also, had just finished all MY winter preparations, too.  I had taken my air conditioner out of the window and put it in the shed . . .  I think that's probably about the time she made a funny gurgling sound, that . . . come to think of it . . . may have been a . . .  a . . .  a sort of . . . growl.   Hmmmm . . . wonder what THAT was all about?    :-)    Sorry, cuz!  But, as a consolation, I promise to try not to mention our 70 degree weather when you're having your -70 degree weather! ! !    ;-)    Of course, you can always just post all those pics of the gorgeous scenery in your neck of the woods to retaliate!  Your pics of Grand Coulee were really nice (and I liked the Windmill Garden, too!)!  If you haven't already stopped by her place, you might want to meander over and check it out!  And even if you have stopped by, you might want to swing by again, there's a lot to check out there!

Well, I think that is enough for this post.  Checking my calendar, it doesn't appear there are any events coming up in the near future, but I'll keep my eyes open, just in case!  Although, I really should pretend to be a grown up and stay home for a while and take care of a few things around the house one of these days!  But, so I don't neglect my blog (if nothing else) I took a drive up to Canada a few years ago and I have some really nice pics and a couple of stories to share from that trip, so maybe I can regale you with some of those tales later!  Hope you enjoyed our little stroll through the Bolsa Chica wetlands!  Talk to you soon!  Take care!